Greenway updates, Old Fort Niagara challenges discussed
By Terry Duffy
A number of items of interest were discussed at Tuesday’s fall meeting of the Youngstown Business and Professional Association, held in the Officer’s Club at Fort Niagara State Park.
•Niagara River Greenway Executive Director Greg Stevens updated visitors on the Experience Niagara pathway. The project, part of the Seaway Trail system, includes the Youngstown Greenway bike path. Once complete, it will link Artpark State Park in Lewiston to Fort Niagara State Park and Four Mile Creek Park in Youngstown, and continue to Porter on the Lake town park.
“We’ve been working for some time with the Town of Porter, the Village and Town of Lewiston (and others),” Stevens said. “New York state has just completed a phenomenal $300 million investment in what is the nation’s longest connected Greenway Trail system. The only part that is not done is from Ninth and Seneca in the Village of Lewiston to Fort Niagara. We’d like to come across in the Town of Porter to the lake. We’re working on a plan to extend the trail.”
Plans call for the trail to run from Ninth and Seneca streets up toward Mohawk Street in the village, proceed up north to the bike path along the Niagara Scenic Parkway to Joseph Davis State Park, and continue north to Fort Niagara and out to the lake.
“We plan to include markers in the road from Joseph Davis up to Fort Niagara,” Stevens said. “That we want to do as soon as possible.”
For more information on this ongoing project, visit NiagaraRiverGreenway.com.
Greg Stevens of the Niagara River Greenway provided updates on the Experience Niagara pathway that is continuing to develop from Lewiston to Youngstown. (Photo by K&D Action Photo and Aerial Imaging)
•Bob Emerson, executive director of Old Fort Niagara, reported on new challenges facing operations at the fort that have stemmed from recent passage of firearms-related legislation in Albany.
“I wanted to say a couple of words about New York state’s new gun law and muskets – if you can believe that,” he said. “This law threatens Old Fort Niagara in a very big way. It threatens our programs; it threatens our reenactment events, which are a very big part of our budget. I think it’s an existential threat to Old Fort Niagara. It takes us out of parades; it takes out of community events … it takes us out of firing over veterans’ graves.
“It’s a terrible, terrible law, and we are working to have it amended to exempt historic firearms like muskets. ...It’s very important to our survival.”
Emerson said area legislators, including State Sen. Robert Ortt and Assemblyman Angelo Morinello, are working on behalf of OFN interests in Albany to address the issue.
“I want to make people aware of it, because a lot of people don’t know just how bad this is,” Emerson said. “And it could some really serious, serious damage to Old Fort Niagara.”
•Mark Butera, secretary of YBPA, discussed the new 2022-23 Town of Porter-Village of Youngstown brochure.
“We’re really proud of how this brochure came out,” he said. “We were able to expand the business listings section; the schedule goes from September 2022 to September 2023; and we’ve provided expanded listings for all the information.”
Butera said the brochure, which was prepared by Niagara Frontier Publications and distributed with last week’s Tribune-Sentinel, is available at a number of locations throughout the River Region.
•Wrapping up, the YBPA officially paid tribute to the Ontario House (aka Stone Jug) as its 2022 Youngstown Business of the Year.
“It’s been open since 1931, but it seems it’s been there forever,” YBPA member Colleen Mary Summerville said.
She went on to recognize Ontario House owners Mike and Barbra Costello and staff for the work they have done in restoring the 1840s-era building at Main and Lockport streets, operating the bar/restaurant, along with updated Airbnb accommodations upstairs in the building, plus an all-new entertainment complex in the backyard.
“The Jug is not just an establishment – the Jug is family,” she said. “And the people are our neighbors, and they’re part of our community – (and) one of the best things you can have in any neighborhood.”
Summerville, along with officials from the Town of Porter, Village of Youngstown, Niagara County and Morinello, joined in offering tributes to the Costellos for their work since taking over the business in 2015.